In short: Microsoft’s decision to buy video game publisher Activision Blizzard came as a big shock, but the deal won’t be finalized until 2023. Meanwhile, regulators are looking into potential antitrust issues as they prepare to revise merger guidelines in light of new market realities.
Unlike other tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, Microsoft has managed to avoid scrutiny from regulators, especially when it comes to acquisitions. Last month, the Redmond-based giant announced it was buying video game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, its largest acquisition to date, which is currently being handled by the FTC. looking in due to the fact that it can harm competition in the gaming industry.
If the deal goes through, Microsoft will become the third largest video game company after Tencent and Sony. Previously, the company also acquired Minecraft developer Mojang, creator of Psychonauts 2. Double Fine Productionsand Bethesda Softworks. Given that Microsoft is in a buying spree, it’s no surprise that this has caught the attention of regulators, and it looks like the Justice Department is allowing the FTC to investigate the case.
It’s also worth noting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice plan to review the merger rules to see if they are overly liberal. The move was announced earlier this month in light of the growing concentration of the tech industry and a surge in merger filings in 2020 and 2021, with many signs pointing to a continuation of this trend in the coming years.
Microsoft isn’t the only company making strategic acquisitions of late: Take-Two Interactive also wants to buy Zynga for $12.7 billion. This week, Sony agreed to buy Bungie, developer of Halo: Combat Evolved and Destiny 2, for $3.6 billion. In the meantime, Sony PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan is talking The acquisition was not in response to other major acquisitions announced this year, it’s hard not to look at it as a rapid consolidation of the video game industry.